Pakistani General: Bin Laden can have safe haven if he promises to be a good boy

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf – whom the U.S. has been carefully cultivating as an ally since 2001 – has announced “reformed terrorists,” including Osama bin Laden, would be allowed safe haven in Pakistan if they promise to live peacefully. See here (but 'ware many popups). He quickly reversed himself after U.S. protests, but that he made the announcement in the first place suggests a curious and almost inexplicable disconnect, even at this date, between his/their world-view and ours. What could account for this?!

Correction: That announcement was made not by Musharraf but by Major General Saukat Sultan. Still very strange, though. And the same article notes Musharraf “has famously said he hoped not to capture bin Laden on Pakistani territory.”

Hastily denied.

Details at Dawn: Waziristan accord signed

I would guess that there was a certain amount of testing of the water going on.

I read an article in the Observer a few months ago, it was an interview with a Yemeni Kaat addict who had fought in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He had also lived in London and was pretty anglicized - it seems he liked and was liked by his neighbours.

He was living, and interviewed in Yemen.

He said that the President had rounded up a load of people like him (he said he was there) and said that the President said although he was sympathetic to their views, it would be helpful if they kept a low profile and did not get up to any mischief. In which case they would be left alone.

It is not unusual to offer an amnesty to ex-combatents

  • sometimes former enemies make good friends

I would prefer Osama living in a large villa, in the lap of luxury, and under close observation, to having him lurking in a cave plotting another atrocity.

Obviously, ideally I would like his head on a spike, but that seems a bit tricky nowadays.

How big is the bounty.25-50 million. He does not live in peace,not now not ever.

Yeah, but he’s doing what he loves.
Isn’t that worth giving up a little peace of mind?

It’s sort of just formalizing the de facto arrangement, isn’t it? I mean, Pakistan doesn’t have much control over Waziristan as it is, and Taliban and al Qaeda people are already there.

You have, of course, asked a mod to edit your title… right?

Is there anything wrong with that? He hopes ObL is captured somewhere else. I don’t blame him.

That your OP is an almost complete misrepresentation of the facts? That you were trying to say one thing, to lead the discussion by portraying our ‘ally’ as being unstable because you (incorrectly) assert that the President of this supposedly friendly power is actually double dealing with AQ, but the facts actually contridict your entire OP?

I’m not sure what accounts for this to be honest…



P.S. Its no great mystery btw why Musharraf would wish that ObL is captured in another country. Just politics. He will get all the credit with the US for fighting terrorism and being our good ‘ally’, while not pissing off his own people any more than he has too. Whats the mystery?

The mystery isn’t that Pakistan isn’t trying especially hard to kill or capture bin Laden, or to chase him back across the border into Afghanistan. The mystery also isn’t that Musharraf won’t let U.S. forces in to Pakistan to do it instead.

The mystery isn’t that even in the past few days, Bush has repeated his line about nations harboring terrorists being just as bad as the terrorists themselves, since Bush is a serial liar.

The mystery is that no one calls Bush on it.

Define “especially hard”.

And you know he’s there… how?

First, we don’t know he’s there. Second, it’s no mystery at all. It’s just called being a sovereign nation.

Not much of a mystery. It’s just Realpolitik in action. What Democrat wants to be shouldered with the burden of “doing something” about Pakistan if and when that party ascends to power? There’s not much of anything that can be done that won’t make things worse.


It’s been reported periodically that our intelligence people believe bin Laden’s in Pakistan, and that Pakistan’s efforts to track him down aren’t exactly overwhelming. Yet they aren’t calling in their ally, the United States of America, to track him down from both sides of the Paki-Afghan border at once.

Maybe our intel people are lying to the press just to get people mad at Pakistan, or maybe the press is making it up. Maybe there is no bin Laden, any more than there was an Emmanuel Goldstein in 1984.

So were Afghanistan and Iraq.

We might start with the acknowledgement that Pakistan is not only a pretty crappy ally, but is actually the center of the Axis of Evil. There ain’t much we can do about it, now that we’ve shot our wad in Iraq and have blown the chance for a decent Grand Unified Deal with Iran, but not only is Pakistan a nuclear power with an unstable government that is in the process of boosting their nuke-making capacity rather enormously, but they’ve shared their nuclear technology with Iran and North Korea, they’ve been less than helpful in the hunt for bin Laden, and it’s generally accepted that they’re harboring terrorists that have set off bombs in India on multiple occasions. India and Pakistan have come close to the brink of nuclear war before, and they might just again.

First step in Realpolitik, whether it’s a Kissingerian version that only cares about the same sorts of things that would have concerned Metternich, or whether it’s a liberal version that believes in spreading democracy and human rights within the limitations of our actual abilities and will to use them, is to know who your real allies are, and what the real threats are. I suppose we could be keeping a dangerous and semi-hostile nation under control by calling it an ally, but I don’t really see the payoff.

Here’s the Asia Times’ take on the Pakistan-Taliban truce:

But they’re probably a bunch of left-wing bloggers who hate Bush.

IOW, you like to exagerate. Fine.

I’m familiar with the claims about him being in Pakistan. It’s been widly reported that Clinton could’ve gotten ObL if he wanted to, and yet you don’t believe that. Lots of things are “widely reported”, but that doesn’t make them true. He might be in Pakistan, and he might be in any number of places. But if he is in Pakistan, maybe Musharif thinks he has more to lose than to gain by letting US forces operate openly in his country. He might very well be right. As it is, he has allowed US forces to operate pursuit missions into Pakistan from Afghanistan. Half a slice is better than none. Bush had no problem dropping a few bombs on Pakistani soil when he thought he knew where Zawarhiri was (and look how that turned out), so I have no doubt he’d do the same if he knew where ObL was.

Well, if Bush can get Congress to authorize the use of force against Pakistan then that argument might have some currency. As it is, Congress hasn’t and won’t, so that argument has no currency.

Emphasis added. Which would do more harm than good. We both thought it was a dumb idea to use the axis of evil concept in the first place. Adding Pakistan would be even more stupid. Isolating them will only make them more likely to get into a hightened conflict with India, not less likely. You don’t support the Bush doctrine, and neither do I. Frankly, I’m glad he’s not consistent in implementing it. Bottom line, though, we’ve gotten much more cooperation from Pakistan (our sometimes ally) in the WoT than we’ve gotten from Iran (a country we’ve isolated).

Of course they’re not. Musharif is walking a dangerous line, and this latest step may indeed cost them some support in Washington that will have nothing to do with whether it’s Bush at the helm or some Democrat.

[ Moderating ]

Thread title changed from
“Musharraf: Bin Laden can have safe haven if he promises to be a good boy”
per 2d post.

‘Exaggerating’ = ‘repeating what one has read in the mainstream press.’

Okay, whatever.

Drudge, NewsMax, WorldNetDummy, and the right-wing blogs aren’t exactly credible sources.

Yeah, but the smart money is still on the Pak-afghan border region.

And that should keep us from bringing to justice a guy who is responsible for the deaths of 3000 Americans?

But having Special Forces operating on both sides of the border would be lots better, thanks.

The problem is in the finding out. Which is why Special Forces trained to speak the local languages would be a big improvement over bombs.

Think he couldn’t get Congress to authorize Special Forces in Pakistan to hunt ObL? Heck, he can probably do that already under the AUMF that authorized the Afghan war.

Ok, you’re right on that. But I’ll stick by my estimation that they are the heart of the Axis of Evil.

What has Pakistan done for us, other than let us access Afghanistan?

Hell, we’d have been better off cozying up to Iran and being in a position to isolate Pakistan, once we’d pushed the Taliban out of Afghanistan. Iran gave us all sorts of info on al-Qaeda in the fall of 2001, were a big help and apparently asked nothing in return, and we proceeded to call them part of the ‘Axis of Evil’. Then in 2003, they were ready to make an overarching deal with us on nukes, recognition, Hezbollah, and everything, and we decided we didn’t like the way the Swiss handed us the envelope or something. For a bunch of nutcases, Iran’s acted in surprisingly good faith.

But the Bushie neocons have as big a hard-on for Iran as they did for Iraq before Iraq became too tough for those girlie-men, so we’re still not talking to Iran, hence we still need Pakistan so we can fly in and out of Kabul.

But John. You are saying that Bush is only doing what any Democrat would do. What does that do to his claim to be more effective than the Democrats?

Arty and John both make cogent and valid points. When mutually contradictory points are equally valid, it means the question hasn’t been framed properly. Candy mint, breath mint, oranges, orangutan.

As an ally, Pakistan bites it. But we already knew this, it became embarassingly clear when we had to choke on it when his atomic scientist was discovered to be conducting a nuclear Amway sale. We had to smile, lick our lips and say “Mmmmmm-good!”.

Because we don’t fucking dare. Pakistan is tenuous at best, it is a military dictatorship controlled by the same time-honored methods employed by so many. Musharaff maintains his grasp but the shit could blow up in his face any minute. If American troops attack Pakistani natives, for whatever pretext and with whatever display of self-righteousness, there is a good to fair chance that Musharaff would be catching a helicopter out.

And whomsoever suceeds him gains access to nukes. The chances that he might be suceeded by someone more friendly to the US are miniscule. Risk that just for the meager satisfaction of nailing one asshole? Risk God knows how many lives for that scrap of vengeance?

Democrats never lifted the nuclear sanctions on Pakistan. Nor did they turn a blind eye to Pakistan’s black market in nuclear secrets and technology. It takes a conservative for that kind of stupid. We’ll sit tight and call this return to the pre 9/11 state of affairs in the tribal areas ‘progress’ in the war on terror too.